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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the UN Security Council Briefing on the Situation of the Korean Peninsula

2022-03-25 18:02

Madam President, 

I listened carefully to the briefing by Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo. 

The situation on the Korean Peninsula has long been an important item on the Council's agenda. Over the past few years, we have witnessed by and large an easing of situation on the Peninsula, thanks to the efforts of various parties concerned. It is a hard-won achievement. The leaders of the United States and the DPRK have met a number of times since 2018, whereby they reached important consensus on improving the bilateral relations and  advancing the Peninsula’s de-nuclearization process. It was on that basis that the DPRK pledged a moratorium on nuclear tests and test launches of ICBMs, which marked a major step towards the Peninsula's de-nuclearization. 

However, as from early 2021, and in particular, starting from last May, the US-DPRK dialogue has entered a deadlock, the de-nuclearization process was marking time, and more variables were added to the mix, causing tensions to rise. As the Peninsula's next door neighbor, China has been consistent in advocating and promoting the Peninsula's peace and stability, its de-nuclearization, and the approach of seeking a solution through dialogue and consultation. We hope the US and the DPRK will actively pursue dialogue and engagement in search of an effective solution to settle their differences. Regrettably, we see that with each passing day, the relevant party failed to take tangible actions in response to the DPRK’s legitimate concerns other than speaking about “talks without preconditions”. 

Now that the DPRK has announced an ICBM test launch, China is concerned about how things are evolving right now. Under the current circumstances, we call on the parties concerned to stay calm, exercise restraint, stay on the right track of dialogue and consultation, and avoid taking any action that may exacerbate the tensions and lead to miscalculations. The direct parties to the Peninsula issue, namely the US and the DPRK, should re-engage in direct talks without delay. It is right and proper for the US side to show its goodwill, take actions that have practical relevance, and work harder to stabilize the situation, build mutual trust, and relaunch dialogue. 

Madam President, 

Given the evolving situation before us, the international community should stick to prudence and reason on the Peninsula issue, and play a positive, constructive role in bringing about a political settlement of the Peninsula issue. 

First, we should do all we can to maintain the Peninsula's peace and stability, which must be treasured. Right now, all is not quiet on the international front. No parties should take any action that would lead to greater tensions, and the Peninsula cannot afford the risk of any dramatic change, much less a reversal of the situation with dire consequences. What needs to happen now, as a matter of urgency, is for the parties concerned to actively seek a political way out of the impasse on the basis of existing understandings in light of the latest developments. China calls on the parties to put the greater good of peace and stability on the Peninsula first, speak and act with caution, pursue dialogue and consultation, take the dual-track approach guided by the principle of moving forward in phases with synchronized steps, and work tirelessly to denuclearize the Peninsula and to build a peace mechanism thereon.

Second, the DPRK’s legitimate concerns must be addressed. The Peninsula issue, fraught with ups and downs, has remained unresolved for decades. There is a reason why the situation has come to where it is today. The crux of the matter is that the external security threats to the DPRK have persisted for decades, and their justified security concerns have remained unaddressed throughout the process. The DPRK made it clear that “following the DPRK-US summit, the US side, instead of honoring its promise to stop joint military exercises with the ROK, went ahead and deployed its strategic nuclear weapons in the surrounding areas of the Korean Peninsula, putting the DPRK’s security in serious jeopardy”. Those pronouncements by the DPRK ought to be taken seriously by the parties concerned, and this Council ought to consider how to accommodate the DPRK’s legitimate security concerns in keeping with the principle of indivisible security. 

Third, the US and the DPRK must resume direct talks as soon as possible. Facts have shown time and again that putting dialogue and diplomacy in front is the only way to avert a crisis. Allowing the situation to go down the slippery slope is not in anyone's interest. Starting from 2018, there was a major positive turnaround in the Peninsula situation. Regrettably, however, a range of steps taken by the DPRK were not duly reciprocated. This is not consistent with the principle of action for action that forms part of their consensus. It also shows all the offers of dialogue for what they are, mere empty slogans. Where things are going forward depends to a large extent what the US is going to do. Are they going to come up with concrete actions that can actually solve problems? Or are they going to continue using the Peninsula issue as a bargaining chip in their geopolitical strategy? The US must not continue to brush aside the DPRK’s legitimate demands. It should offer an attractive proposal to pave the way for early resumed dialogue. 

Fourth, it is imperative to interpret and implement the Security Council resolutions concerning the DPRK in a comprehensive manner. These resolutions should be implemented comprehensively, completely and accurately. Advancing a political settlement and easing the sanctions at appropriate times is also an important aspect of those resolutions. The fact that the Peninsula issue is deadlocked is to some degree attributable to the absence of effective implementation of certain provisions therein. The parties concerned should take this issue seriously, and take practical actions rather than put one-sided emphasis on the sanctions provisions therein. This Council should play a constructive role when it comes to the Peninsula issue. It should not stress the need for sanctions and pressurization to the exclusion of other considerations. The China-Russia draft resolution on the DPRK serves one purpose and one purpose only, that is, to ease the humanitarian and livelihood plight in the DPRK, and create an enabling atmosphere for greater trust between the parties with a view to dialogue, thereby injecting impetus into the political settlement of the Peninsula issue. This draft is still on the table. We encourage all parties to give positive consideration and support. 

Madam President, 

It is in the common interest of all countries to safeguard the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. At this important juncture for the persistent and intractable nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, certain countries ignore the concerns of the international community and went ahead with their nuclear submarine cooperation, which poses a serious risk of nuclear proliferation. This act runs counter to the purposes and objectives of the NPT, harms regional peace and stability, and undermines the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. China urges the countries concerned to faithfully fulfill their non-proliferation obligations, and play a constructive role in promoting the resolution of the hot spot non-proliferation issues, and in maintaining regional peace and stability. 

Thank you, Madam President.

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